When we see kids coloring during writing workshop, an internal alarm may ring: They are wasting precious minutes of writing! We tend to think of writing as the act of adding words to paper, and when we do not see that happening, we assume kids are off-task.
On the contrary, coloring puts many skills to work that are essential for writing (and are not limited to primary grades!). Coloring promotes:
- Better handwriting. Handwriting requires dexterity (coordination of small muscles, in movements), hand strength, and attention to detail — each of which is developed while coloring.
- Spatial awareness. Coloring helps children attend to boundaries, use margins on a page, learn about lines and shapes, as well as organize drawings within a given space.
- Improved focus and hand-eye coordination. The physical task of holding crayons, in addition to selecting and implementing colors all contribute to these skills, which are fundamental for writing.